A new universe
Dumb Ways JR is not just a chance for Millipede to make a fun app, it’s also the chance to create a small version of the Dumb Ways universe with a life of its own. Our team knew that to make good early years content we needed to seek the positives in the Dumb Ways universe, and design activities that put the child at the centre of the action.
Dumb Ways JR allows the characters to roll back the years, before their adorable innocence becomes foolishly fatal in Dumb Ways to Die. Instead, kids get to know and identify with younger versions of Loopy, Boffo, Madcap and others in their own early years.
Each app features a main character from the original series, re-cast as a younger version of themselves. Loopy retains his can-do attitude and cute glasses, Boffo’s hair continues to take over his life, Madcap is always ready to cheer on the player. While the app activities are entirely focused on the child’s play experience, the Dumb Ways characters provide a supporting cast that encourage the player with their positive reactions, and occasionally ‘help’ the player (more or less).
Character development is focused on positive actions and each character ‘learns by doing’ along with the player – but in Dumb Ways JR, this only ever leads to an amusing reaction or opens a new area for the child to discover.
Play-based learning and discovery
Dumb Ways JR uses a child-centred design approach that encourages open-ended play. Unlike the adult Dumb Ways games, there’s no time limits and no fixed endings. Instead, every app in the series gives the child a set of tools to create, build and explore in a safe digital environment. Whether it’s combining ingredients to prepare a special meal, or building a unique train set using whichever pieces they choose, each app lets children ‘own’ the play experience, so they feel they’re in charge.
Millipede’s app development process looks at children’s interests and different ways of engaging with both physical and digital toys, and each early concept is tested with children to ensure the concepts are appropriate and the activities are engaging. Parent information is also provided with each app, including suggestions on how to enjoy the app together.
The initial proposal was designed to cement the brand’s identity and place in the market with a suite of four top quality apps. From here the brand can expand with more apps, more characters, more fun and more activities for children to explore.